Fighting crime online

You can do everything else on line, why not “call” the police.

The Ontario Provincial Police are hoping a new online reporting system will improve efficiency and result in more crimes being reported.

The Citizen Self Reporting system will enable the public to report specific occurrences from a computer. Police say the system will offer the public another way to report certain types of incidents which are not an emergency, by completing a report online at their convenience.

The system is basically an internet-based crime reporting system through which people can report certain crimes such as lost property, theft from vehicles, and property damage, without an officer having to be dispatched.  However, an officer will attend if requested by the complainant.

Among the crimes that can be reported through the system are:

– lost or missing property under $5,000 in value;

– lost or stolen license plates or validation stickers;

– theft from a vehicle of property valued under $5,000;

– mischief/damage to a vehicle under $5,000;

– mischief/damage to property (other than a vehicle) under $5,000; and

– theft under $5,000.

The public is asked not to use the system for emergencies, occurrences outside of OPP jurisdiction or involving identifiable suspects, injuries or weapons.

Occurrences involving drugs or gambling (including lottery tickets), pasSports or unattached license plates or unplated vehicles should also be reported through regular police telephone numbers.

The OPP are anticipating that Citizen Self Reporting will be beneficial to both the public and the police. It will provide a convenient alternative to the citizens of Ontario, while allowing frontline officers to focus their efforts on other enforcement and crime prevention strategies within our communities. By providing people with another option for reporting crimes, the OPP is hopeful that more incidents will be reported, resulting in the collection of information to develop future crime prevention initiatives.

While it seems hard to imagine given the level of personal violation most crime victims feel, far too many crimes end up going unreported because victims are reluctant to put themselves through the regular channels of the justice system for what they perceive as a relatively minor occurrence. Online reporting would appear to be a good tool to fight that trend.

Citizens can access the system through